Swiss Animals Get Legal Counsel?

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts, and wild tales from the outdoors


March 3, 2010

Swiss Animals Get Legal Counsel?
So, you think American animal rights proponents do some pretty loony things?
Then just take a look at Switzerland,
where citizens will vote next week to extend the right of defense by a
state-appointed attorney to dogs, farm animals, and even gamefish!
You’ll also read about an appropriate new name for a South Dakota baseball team, the banner sales
year for one American gunmaker, and more!


J.R. Absher

Pike Takes Angler To Court
The country with the world’s most extreme existing animal-protection laws is
poised to become even more radical as voters will decide whether attorneys
should be appointed by the state to defend animals in alleged human abuse
cases. The animal-right group Swiss Animal Protection qualified the issue by
gathering the necessary 100,000 petition signatures to require a nationwide
vote on March 7.

The measure is opposed by the Swiss government as well as the Swiss Farming
Association.

Longtime followers of the Outdoor News Hound may recall reading about the
Swiss ban on catch-and-release fishing, which became effective Sept. 1, 2008.
The sweeping animal protection laws implemented on that date by the Swiss
government also required all anglers to
immediately — and humanely — dispatch every fish they catch. Angling with live bait
was also prohibited under the law.

In addition, Swiss dog owners are required by law to attend special classes on
raising canines so their pets will be less likely to learn bad behavior, like
biting. And Swiss swine-raising operations are mandated to provide showers for
their pigs.

The country’s lone practicing animal rights attorney, Antoine F. Goetschel, currently represents 150-200 animals in court
cases each year, receiving 200 Swiss francs ($185) an hour from the canton
(state) of Zurich.

In February, he represented a deceased pike, alleging the angler tortured the
fish because he fought it for 10 minutes.

Fortunately, the angler was acquitted.

In an international wire story documenting the case, the attorney was asked
why he represented the fish.

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